Monday 19 February 2018

A Sign Post

One of the items on the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt is No.18 A Sign Post.  A sign post shows the direction of different destinations at a junction as oppose to a road sign which gives you some kind of instruction or warning. The early signs were also known as finger posts as they point in the correct direction. They were first introduced to make it easier for the drivers of carriages to save them having to dismount to scrutinise milestones. 
 We are lucky enough around here to have a lot of relatively old sign posts. In the mid 1960s the government advised councils to remove finger posts and replace them with more modern signage. Somerset fortunately didn't heed this. They have SSC (Somerset County Council) on the top dating back to when Somerset reached up to the boundary of Bristol. The area in more recent years has been the county of Avon before becoming North Somerset.
 I pass these signposts regularly but have rarely stopped to look at them.

It was on closer inspection that I noticed the writing Sheldon Wells on the base which refers to the foundry where they were made.

Then of course there are the names. This signpost actually points to the name of a road close by. I suspect it was so named because it led to the large house in the top picture which was indeed the parsonage. The name Lulsgate is familiar to many local people. Bristol International Airport was always referred to as Lulsgate Airport in its early days. Nempnett or Nempnett Thrubwell to give it's full name was put on the map for Wurzels fans by being mentioned in one of their songs.

Perhaps one of the most curious names is Ridgehill. This little hamlet has two names as confirmed by the signpost just a short distance away giving what I suspect is the more colloquial version of the name  Regil!

Do you have many of these finger sign posts near you or are they more of a rarity?


  1. There are still quite a few finger signposts in this area. I'll have to take a closer look at them after reading this post. I'm fairly close to the Wiltshire/Somerset border so it'll be interesting to see if they are mostly SCC or whether any Wilts ones have survived.

    1. I would imagine a few counties ignored the advice. This is the document that gave me the information.

  2. That was all very informative! We still have a few in South Glos and it is always good to see them in Cornwall.

  3. I was fascinated to find one of these finger posts on the Devon Somerset border at Oldways End. New to this particular area I wondered why the junction was named Sheldon Wells. Thanks enlightening me. To be clear, is Sheldon a foundry at Wells?